Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book Review: Scrumptious Toppers

Recently I was scheduled to meet with a designer I'm knitting for.  We meet close to Lion Brand Studio so I figured I had to perfect excuse to subway myself down to see Debby Ware that same night.  I had to be in the area anyway, it's free, and there's AC; so why not right?*

Debby is such a sweet, friendly, bubbly lady.  She reminds me of a Virginian Version of Mrs. Weasley from the Harry Potter books.  She was interesting to watch, conversational and I really really liked her.  I just wish I could say the same for Scrumptious Toppers for Tots and Toddlers.

Scrumptious Toppers for Tots & Toddlers: 30 Hats and Caps from Debby Ware

The hats in this book are outrageous and over the top.  Looking for a way to use up that novelty yarn that you can't even give away?  Buy this book!  Every piece has at least one of the following:  novelty yarns, bobbles, I-cords, French knots, pom poms...  Whoa.  Just whoa.

Debby said she designs for babies because they can't say no (as long as their mommy doesn't mind).  That right there should tell you something.

There are some patterns I do like, though.  The Birthday Cupcake Cap (no Ravelry link available) is probably my favorite out of the book.  I do plan on knitting one of these for Autumn for her first birthday (no, she's not even born yet...).  The hat has a banded brim (seemingly a favorite of Debby's judging by this book) and then a sparkly novelty yarn top making it look like a cupcake. On top is a candle standing straight up.  Along those birthday line is the Crystal Party Hat.  It's like knit birthday hats they can't destroy in 5 seconds!  The Feathers & Fringe Fedora could work too (though it doesn't really look like a fedora to me).

The Baby Beastie Beanie is pretty cute.  The top of the hat is knit split into two points to look like bunny ears.  A face is embroidered on and some color coordinated novelty yarn is used for the tips of the ear points.  Though they're bunnies so I'm not really sure what's going on with that name.

The Halloween Hat is cute.  It's your typical pumpkin/jack-o-lantern hat, but I love the way she designed the pumpkin ridges on it.  And it helps that the baby model looks like one of my favorite babies from the daycare I used to work at.  I bought yarn for this at the Gotham Moving Sale.

I don't know that I'd actually put this on a kid, but I think the Black and White and Red All Over is funky awesome looking.  Maybe if Lady Gaga had a kid he/she would wear it.

WTF MOMENT:  The Baby Chick Cap.  No words.  See for yourself. I dare you to put that on your child.  ::Ahem:: why does this one have a Ravelry page and the actual good patterns don't??  I don't get it.

Not included in the book was an adorable hat only available as a kit on Debby's website:  the Cherry Swirl Hat (Ravelry).  I loved this one.  You bet I want to make it for little baby Autumn.  Look at how cute those cherries are! I think I would knit the top flat though.  I don't think Autumn's Mommy would care so much for the funky style.

One thing I enjoyed about Debby's presentation was that she shared with us her dead end projects and how they lead to her "keepers."  One dead end lead her to the Fizzle Ruffle Beanie.  The dead end was a beret that fits and adult head in the same yellow yarn.  Only there was knit ruffles covering the hat.  At the end of these ruffles was that same reddish eyelash yarn.  As a had, oh.my.god no!  But I point out to Debby that it would make a perfect skirt for a little girl.  So you heard it here- when she makes that pattern, mhm, I gave her that idea!

Another thing I (as well as the others in attendance) enjoyed was that Debby's pieces were poorly or not at all finished.  Strings hanging, ends not woven in, and no attempt at hiding sewing/embroidery stitches.  Thank you Debby for not trying to be perfect!  Debby doesn't send her pieces off to professional finishers.  She doesn't try to make her pieces immaculate.  In her opinion, the pieces are for kids and kids aren't going to notice/care about what the inside of their hat looks like.

To see some pictures of the event,check out the blog post on Lion Brand Studio's Blog.  You can see a bit of my hair in one picture, or just check out some images of Debby's hats.  The ruffle hat I was talking about is the one on the projector screen with the caption "!!??!!??!".  Debby's also holding the hat,  It's also in someone's hand at the display table, and the cupcake hat is on the middle prop.

Overall, I don't think I'd recommend this book to others.  That being said, you really have to have a preference for dressing your children in outrageous clothing to like these patterns.  Maybe it's my age, but I just don't see Autumn wearing most of these things.  Her mommy just isn't into that style.  Maybe that will change when she arrives, but at least then I'm prepared.

*Just as Debbie was about to start her presentation, the designer texted me:  none of the other knitters could make it so she was cancelling.  This was the main cause of the horrible mood mentioned in the Knitty review post.

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